How TechSolutions uses Twingate to improve security and deliver a best-in-class experience to their customers
MSP TechSolutions uses Twingate to reduce their cyberattack surface and improve the user experience for their vast customer network.
“We used to have tickets for clients calling in not understanding how to type in credentials, not understanding where the icon for the VPN is, lots of confusion generally around traditional VPNs because the interfaces are very technical. We deal with so many fewer issues with Twingate than we did with other systems.”
As a managed services provider, Delaware-based TechSolutions is the backbone of a wide range of companies’ cybersecurity strategy and management. That also means they’re on the line for those companies’ unique needs and risks.
“We’ve been providing remote access solutions for over 20 years,” said Chris Scerbo, Systems Engineer at TechSolutions. “We’ve seen a lot of different iterations of what remote access looks like, and we came to the decision that hardware VPNs just aren’t secure enough anymore.”
One of the key security concerns for Scerbo and his team was the exposure risk of having open ports on a customer’s network. Traditional VPNs and even certain ZTNA solutions often required open ports, and though TechSolutions found workarounds to secure them, it was often manual, time-intensive, and a general headache.
“If you’ve got an expensive VPN system, you don’t want to see those open ports, we just don’t consider that secure,” said Scerbo. “You definitely don’t want to see a provider on a breach list. But that’s what we saw on the market.”
TechSolutions was also dissatisfied with the general usability of traditional VPNs. “Hardware VPN solutions are cumbersome,” said Scerbo. “The client applications are a problem for people to use.”
Usability is critical for the solutions provided by MSPs, in particular, because they handle support in addition to general management and maintenance. Connectivity issues, speed complaints, confusions around authentication - all of those ended up as tickets in TechSolutions’ inbox.
Between the security and usability concerns, the team at TechSolutions decided it was time to move away from a traditional VPN solution for remote access.
The team began to evaluate a number of different solutions to replace their VPN.
After several months of working with one vendor to establish a deployment map, the TechSolutions team finally got to dig into the details. When it was finally time to start diving into the technical specs, the team found the very thing they were looking to eliminate: outward-facing ports.
Understandably frustrated, the TechSolutions team went back to researching solutions that same day. “At that point, my colleague and I started furiously Googling,” said Scerbo. That’s when they found Twingate.
Twingate’s robust documentation was a breath of fresh air for the TechSolutions team. “As an MSP, we get an onslaught of salespeople,” said Scerbo. “To get to dig into the technical stuff right away, it means a lot.”
After a disappointing start to the day, Scerbo and team quickly turned things around. That same day, they found Twingate, reviewed documentation, and deployed a test. “I could see exactly what Twingate was because all of your documentation is right there on your website,” said Scerbo. "I could see how the system worked, a network map, what deployment looked like. Within about an hour and a half of finding Twingate I had a test deployed and was trialing Twingate for remote access.”
After a successful initial test, TechSolutions deployed Twingate for their own internal network and began to offer it as a ZTNA solution to their customers.
Strengthened security posture
Once Twingate was deployed on their own network, the TechSolutions team finally achieved what they’d set out to do: eliminate outward facing ports.
Unlike traditional VPNs, with Twingate there is no concept of a public gateway and no requirement to have inbound ports open. In eliminating open ports, the TechSolutions team reduced their own cyberattack surface – critical for the protection of their customers’ data – and were able to extend those benefits onto their customers who also select Twingate for remote access.
Twingate’s direct peer-to-peer connections eliminate the ability for malicious actors to travel laterally across a compromised network, further protecting TechSolutions and their customers. Easy-to-configure granular access controls provide additional layers of security, with TechSolutions able to customize boundaries around the applications and resources their customers’ employees can access.
Improved customer experience
Before Twingate, TechSolutions fielded constant customer complaints ranging from connection drops, to speed issues, to general confusion around the VPN client application.
“We used to have tickets for customers calling in not understanding how to type in credentials, not understanding where the icon for the VPN is, lots of general confusion around traditional VPNs because the interfaces are very technical,” said Scerbo. “We deal with so many fewer issues with Twingate than we did with other systems.”
Scerbo and team were also able to leverage Twingate’s out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, which eliminated confusion and streamlined the authentication experience for end users.
“Because of Twingate’s integration with Azure AD, our clients were able to log into Twingate using a workflow they already knew,” said Scerbo. “Having that convenience for our clients, where they don’t have to go through the headache of traditional VPNs, that was huge.”
Centralized network management
At the time of TechSolutions’ initial deployment, Twingate did not offer a centralized view for MSP admins to manage multiple customer networks. This was not a deal breaker for the TechSolutions team, partly because they believed the core offering was strong enough, and partly because they were actively interested in building a partnership with Twingate to help shape future products.
That partnership came to fruition with the launch of the Twingate MSP Portal, a specialized multi-tenant console for MSPs to manage and monitor all of their customers’ networks and protected resources.
From the Twingate MSP Portal, TechSolutions can easily add customer tenants, update license counts, deploy proof of concept environments, and manage all of their customers from a central console. Twingate’s preferred partner pricing and flexible billing make it easy for them to drive higher margins and keep their tools aligned with the way they do business.
Feedback from MSPs like TechSolutions was critical in shaping the product and ensuring the Twingate MSP Portal meets the unique needs of MSPs. They’re excited to continue strengthening their partnership with Twingate and shaping the future of ZTNA for MSPs.